Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Gravestone Elegy

What would you want your gravestone to say about you?

Hillary Clinton has been making her mark lately; traveling on a book tour with her daughter Chelsea, and speaking candidly with Howard Stern. Her latest Hulu docu/series teaser has her answer to the question about her legacy, from the cemetery’s point of view; https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/hillary-clinton-hulu-docuseries-documentary-925106/

“She’s neither as good or as bad as some people say about her.”

So what IS she anyway? Does she walk the middle road? Is she milquetoast? I think what our final sentiments are can be quite telling. Consider that Thomas Jefferson insisted his stint as our third President NOT be etched into his gravestone:

“Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom & Father of the University of Virginia.”

I mean you do have to be crazy to want to be president. I like a sense of humor; there’s that grave in Key West:

“I told you I was sick.”

So what does one put on one’s grave – our greatest hits? The accomplishments of our life’s work? For me, Ive been teasing my kids forever, saying I wanted to be remembered in this way:

“She had a heavy metal band in her garage.” Or

“It could have been worse.”

Bob’s Grandfather Pinky wrote a book in Yiddish titled, “Better it Couldn’t Be.” But whenever life throws me a punch, I usually take the long view. The dog has fleas? She could have had tapeworms. I fell down the stairs? I could have broken my back. I think it’s an optimistic approach to things…hmm, what’s worse than a hard core heavy metal band? Disco?

I once heard a rabbi say that we don’t fully reach adulthood until we buy our burial plot. This isn’t true because Great Grandma Ada already bought my plot when I married her son, and I wasn’t quite ready to devote my afterlife in The Good Place to a Jewish cemetery in my hometown. After all, maybe I don’t want a plot of land with moss and stones all over it reminding people who never knew me that I existed.

We grow up to adulting when we decide it’s time to take responsibility for our lives. We stop blaming others for all our problems. Our generation is more realistic when confronting such momentous, end-of-life decisions, we consider the cycle of life, the overpopulation of the planet, and the generalized toxic waste of the funeral industry.

Have you heard you can get wrapped up in muslin and feed a tree? Or cremated and made into a diamond? Bob wants his body to go to a medical school, I’m not so sure I like that idea even if the Bride and Groom got to know each other in an anatomy lab at Mr Jefferson’s school. On a positive note, I leave you with this little ditty:

IMG_6850:

 

 

Say Anything

Reality is a fluid thing when your president attacks the press and sends his personal counsel on errands to create or approve a conspiracy. It leaves us walking along in a fog of Christmas cheer mixed with New Year dread – what’s next?

A soliloquy that screams of Lady Macbeth in the bathroom? “We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers. And other elements of bathrooms….” said the leader of the free world, which just made me scratch my head. Is this the rambling of a demented mind? Move along, nothing to see here!

As we were entering the Vanderbilt auditorium last week, I noticed a small group of young men handing out flyers. Walking down Madison Avenue in NYC I’d usually just keep moving, wave them off saying, “No thanks,” but our small group of friends stopped to engage with the students on this chilly Nashville night. They were clean cut and sincere, they just wanted us to “know something:’ their flyer read:

“Why is Vanderbilt giving Steven Pinker a platform to speak?”   

Pinker, a Harvard Cognitive Psychologist, had a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Hmmm Epstein, Epstein now where had I heard that name? It took a few beats before the sleazy sex trafficker came to mind.

I mean I’ve been so impressed and astonished by the impeachment hearings I’d almost forgotten the poor guy, left alone in his cell by 2 sleeping guards. But like Prince Andrew, Pinker was being sullied by association with Epstein: by flying on his private jet the “Lolita Express;” by collaborating with Alan Dershowitz to manipulate the language of Epstein’s defense on child sex trafficking that resulted with a very generous plea deal; and by being photographed with him at a party after his conviction.

Why thank you students! I was on pins and needles during the Chancellor’s Lecture, waiting for a protest to erupt or Pinker to meltdown, but nothing happened. Absolutely nothing! Southern students have manners or tremendous restraint. So i went home and Googled the guy.

I didn’t know that Epstein courted scientists, that he had donated 6.5 Million to Harvard, helping to found the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics?! Did you know Epstein was a devout transhumanist who wanted to seed the world with his sperm and freeze his head and his penis when he died? Honestly, I was wondering if this news was legit. All I’d read about was his crazy relationship with the Victoria’s Secret’s CEO, Leslie Wexner.

But Epstein was throwing tons of parties with money, booze and girls for scientists on his island and in New Mexico. He was reviving eugenics.

“On multiple occasions starting in the early 2000s, Mr. Epstein told scientists and businessmen about his ambitions to use his New Mexico ranch as a base where women would be inseminated with his sperm and would give birth to his babies, according to two award-winning scientists and an adviser to large companies and wealthy individuals, all of whom Mr. Epstein told about it.

It was not a secret. The adviser, for example, said he was told about the plans not only by Mr. Epstein, at a gathering at his Manhattan townhouse, but also by at least one prominent member of the business community. One of the scientists said Mr. Epstein divulged his idea in 2001 at a dinner at the same townhouse; the other recalled Mr. Epstein discussing it with him at a 2006 conference that he hosted in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/business/jeffrey-epstein-eugenics.html

In the New York Times article, Pinker disavows a relationship with Epstein, saying he thought he was an “intellectual imposter,” using adolescent humor to switch subjects if a conversation wasn’t going his way. Now who does that remind you of?

Last weekend I was recounting this example of student activism to a friend at a holiday party. We were two drinks in and the party was heating up when I heard a woman’s voice from across the room yell,

HE WAS MURDERED!”

A Rough Patch

This morning I came across an article about the old Mid-Life Crisis, for our kids’ generation. It’s not what Boomers would consider a crisis – you don’t leave your wife and children, lose 20 pounds and buy a Porsche. It’s a more nuanced place, when today’s 40-50 year old couple hits the pinnacle of their careers, they have two kids and two dogs and maybe a Peloton in the family room. But they wake up one morning wondering if they could have had more, or done something differently.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner writes eloquently about today’s rough patch in her book Fleishman is in Trouble.  https://forge.medium.com/welcome-to-the-new-midlife-crisis-6ad07840a503

“First, the people who reported having an age-related crisis in their forties or fifties were also highly likely to have reported dissatisfaction or anxiety in their younger years as well. If you are besieged with self-doubt at midlife, in other words, it is most likely not your first existential rodeo.

And second, the stereotypical midlife crisis is a luxury. No more than 10% to 20% of middle-aged people go through one,… It takes privilege to chuck everything and start anew.”

I always told Bob he’s not allowed to have a Mid-Life Crisis because he went to Woodstock, and really, enough is enough. We’ve weathered lots of storms, moves to different states, rebellious teens, Bob’s back, shoulder and neck surgeries, and even my bout with West Nile. Talk about an existential crisis.

I had to smile the other night when John Meacham asked a group of scholars “What keeps you up at night?”

“Viruses,” Carl Zimmer said!

Zimmer was the most entertaining panelist, a journalist who writes about science and even has a tapeworm named after him! He has written many books and currently writes the column, “MATTER” for the New York Times.

Bob reminded me, in that Vanderbilt auditorium surrounded by really old people and really, really young students (presumably because mid-lifers were home putting their kids to bed), that Zimmer was the son of a former Representative from our old district in NJ. “Carl Zimmer’s father is Dick Zimmer, a Republican politician from New Jersey, who was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1997.”

I thought about our home in Rumson, NJ, about living on a tributary with a tide ebbing and flowing into our backyard, and mosquitoes. Lots and lots of mosquitoes.

I was writing for The Two River Times then, I was Forty-Something. And if you’ve been following me for awhile you know where this is going.  I like to think my tiny column for the paper helped to unseat the elder Zimmer after he voted to allow the Assault Weapon Ban to expire. I asked my readers how he could look at himself in the mirror every morning.

The Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Lecture Series was addressing, “2020 and Beyond: Tackling Global Issues in the Decades to Come.”  Most of the conversation onstage was about Climate Change. Meacham began with, “Are facts out of fashion?” The other two academics pointed out that OUR very own EPA Climate Change web page has been erased! If you search for it you’ll find a notice that says, “The information you are looking for is not here” and you are directed to the archives!!

How can we address Climate Change or viruses when we have a Climate Denier in the White House? How can we possibly reduce global greenhouse gases by 50% in 15 years?

2020 will be a “Rough Patch” for our country. But I believe in good journalism and our Constitution. Facts are funny things that will take down Republicans seen lying on TV, lying and obfuscating all week at the Impeachment Hearings – “Clouding real facts with a miasma of falsity,” the Vandy Writer-in-Residence said.

George Washington helped us forge this great nation, and Abraham Lincoln helped heal our still seeping wound of slavery. A Leader will appear to guide us through this collective Mid-Life Crisis. I have to believe as Brodesser-Akner said about mid-life:

“To mature is to accept one’s role as both a person with pain and one with strength to endure it. It is the ability to say to oneself or to those we love: I see you. I hear you. I will sit here with you until it passes, as all things must.

The view out my kitchen window of our hawk in the city.

IMG_6804

 

 

 

Second Chances

I’m all for second chances. You need to warmup your arm before you serve a tennis ball. Or try making that cake again when the first one won’t come out of the pan. But we need to have a talk with Ohio; a fertilized egg that has jumped the gun and implanted itself in a fallopian tube is a done deal. It can kill its host and cause all sorts of problems. So let’s be perfectly clear, there is NO such procedure known to medicine as “re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy.” NONE.

“Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation that would jail doctors for “abortion murder” unless they reimplant ectopic pregnancies in the uterus. Unfortunately, there no such procedure in medical science. Ectopic pregnancies, where the embryo is implanted in the fallopian tube, can be fatal for mothers. Legislators have been told in the past that this fantasy operation cannot be done. Ohio obstetrician and gynecologist Dr David Hackney wrote on Twitter: “I don’t believe I’m typing this again but, that’s impossible. We’ll all be going to jail.” The bill proposes punishing women and girls as young as 13 with “abortion murder” if they have an abortion, and creates a new law called “aggravated abortion murder” which would be enforced with the death penalty.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/ohio-bill-says-doctors-must-reimplant-ectopic-pregnancy-or-be-jailed-for-abortion-murder?

There have been times when I’ve felt like we’re approaching the Handmaid’s Tale, but seeing this pop up on Twitter made me question if we’re not already there – living in a dystopian future where extreme religious right legislation has codified a woman’s body.

Once legislators decide a fertilized egg is a “Person” – which it is NOT btw – well, then the government gets to decide your future. You’re a 16 year old girl and your step father raped you? Too bad, you either go to prison for trying to get on with your life, for wanting a second chance, or you have a baby and give it up for adoption.

Or maybe worse yet, you end up giving the baby to your mom and step dad to raise. Of course today, you could always keep the baby and live with a friend or relative, finish high school, get a job…. But let’s not forget our government cares less about child care for working families and single moms than it does about a cluster of cells.

Not everyone has an Aunt Bee child care story like Elizabeth Warren, and she was a law professor with a husband at the time.

The language politicians use around women is prescient, so listen very carefully. Mr T talks about women in a very gendered, “marked” way. He calls Nancy Pelosi “nervous Nancy” and added to his crude comments on a bus with Billy Bush, he specifically calls out their sex, usually followed by saying how much he “loves” women, implying they need his protection.

“Justifying his decision to oust her (Marie Yavanovitch), the president told Fox & Friends last Friday he heard “bad things” about “the ambassador, the woman… This was not an angel, this woman, okay? And there were a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like.”

Mr Trump added that his staff felt they had to be kind because “she’s a woman – we have to be nice.” Professor Marianne LaFrance, a psychologist at Yale University, says this remark is a prime example of gendered language.

“That referencing says she’s not an individual, she’s not a professional, she’s first and foremost a woman,” Prof LaFrance says.” https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50563106

You have to be “nice” because she’s a woman? Mr T wasn’t happy with Ms Yavanovitch because she was actually doing her job for the American people, fighting corruption in Ukraine, making Rudy’s shady political dealing difficult. That portrait thing was just another lie.

Stop calling our candidates a “woman politician,” do we call men that “man politician?” Stop making up medical procedures for women that do not exist.                                     Stop calling for “personhood bills.” Stop the nonsense.

IMG_6807

 

 

This is the week we give thanks.

This is also the week we prep, cook, and bake like banshees for a few minutes around the Thanksgiving table. Like Columbus Day, this is another holiday deserving a second look – certainly Native Americans have a different point of view. And more and more families are trying out a plant-based diet, giving more and more turkeys the day off, or a pardon by the president.

Our family is staying put this year; the Big Chill has diminished from death and divorce, and all the grandchildren require our presence. In the words of a great American jazz singer Benard Ighner, “Everything must change” is one of those eternal truths… “the young become the old, mysteries do unfold.”  https://secondhandsongs.com/work/4541

A couple of friends have gone to Disneyland, FL, which is a fantastic idea. Maybe next year we’ll do Disneyland, CA?

Disney never disappoints. This past weekend, all 3 generations saw Frozen 2, like most of the families on this planet. Its opening weekend saw a total, world-wide box office toll of 350 Million – breaking the previous record for an animation release! I made some sandwiches to trade for the concession stand, and leaned over to remind the Bride that her brother composed one of the trailers while we settled into our reclining seats.

My daughter reached for my hand when Olaf and Anna were in the cave (spoiler alert), we both had tears in our eyes as the little sister held her snowman. All of a sudden, our L’il Pumpkin turned to us and said,

“It’s not the end, The end is happy.” 

Elsa, the big sister, knew that change was necessary; she had a suspicion that the origin story they were fed as children didn’t add up. It was time to do something drastic, so she sent Anna and Olaf out of harm’s way in a canoe. Elsa took charge, she went looking for that happy ending.

“You say you’re a king, who put you in charge?” Lyrics by the not-so-well-known Christian rapper NF popped into my mind as I listened to Fiona Hill testify. She had asked Ambassador Sondland,

“Who put you in charge of the Ukraine?”

My heart stopped a little. I mean come on, was anyone going to take the heat for this fiasco, this tempest of a “perfect call” vs “Quid pro Quo” aka bribery, abuse of power?

“The President,” Mr Sondland said.

“Hill is due process and righteous anger, brains and brilliance and fire and loyalty ready to be deployed for her country, now and forever.

It is not just that we are hungry for norms and qualifications. We are desperate for someone competent and principled to be in charge. We want someone smart to tell us it will be okay and that they care.

 

He who would be king seems to have been in charge of it all, like a bull in a china shop, Mr T continues to wreck havoc with our constitution.

If President Obama sent his personal lawyer to another country to shakedown political dirt on Mitt Romney, I wonder what Lindsay Graham would say? When will the GOP wake from this Trump the Grifter nightmare and realize this president in NOT the chosen one.

Tomorrow, at the Thanksgiving table, I will give thanks for Adam Schiff and his diligence in unfolding this mystery. I will think about our founders and their definition of high crimes, of their wish to keep royalty on the other side of the pond. I am grateful for all the selfless civil servants who toil without fanfare in their offices around the world, and I will pray for a “competent and principled” person to rise from the ranks of the Democratic candidates’ field.

Forget Mike Bloomberg – Bob Iger, any interest in running? Remember, it’s not over till we get the happy ending, or the blue cookie.

59631568074__E1DDC6E3-EE25-482E-A409-068B34A0358D

 

 

Being a Kid

Sure, I was bullied as a kid. But that one boy who tripped me up on my bike, when I fell and broke my arm, I got back at him. I pushed an ice cream cone right in his face, and I don’t remember being bullied ever again. Well, except by a teacher.

Over sushi I was telling the Grands about Catholic school. How we had to sit still with our hands folded in front of us all the time. One teacher made me stand in the corner for half a day, luckily she didn’t have a dunce hat. “Why,” they wanted to know.

“Because I was talking to a boy!”

And I swear, we all broke out in belly laughs. One of the worst moments in my young life seemed pretty comical now. I mean shaming a child, it just doesn’t compute or translate well in today’s world, or maybe it does?

I’ve been having an ‘on and off’ conversation with the Love Bug and the L’il Pumpkin about “bad people” ever since someone stole my wallet while we were having lunch at Panera. What should we do if we have to confront a bad person. Their parents have been telling them that everybody is good, that you turn and walk away from a confrontation, and I get that. You don’t want to color their young minds with horror stories – and yet, they already hate Mr T cause, well, we ALL do.

I was thinking about this after the Democratic debates in Atlanta. I was surprised at how much I like Andrew Yang. He seemed to be the only authentic person up on that stage, like he was talking to me. When he spoke about looking our kids and Grands in the eye, and leaving them a better future, when he shared that he had an autistic child, when he talked about keeping America safe:

While it was well into the debate before Yang spoke, his answers about some of the threats to American society once again, brought new ideas to the debate stage. Artificial intelligence, which he’s mentioned in previous debates, is a future threat that must be taken seriously. And setting up something like a WTO (World Trade Organization) for data? His ingenuity was astounding. Bold ideas suit Yang well — and, when well thought out and pragmatic, they get high points in a debate.  https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/21/opinions/buttigieg-yang-stole-the-show-debate-opinion-graham/index.html

A WTO for Data?!?! I mean, AI is coming, along with the Russians and China, and will we be ready for it? Then the Rocker sent me an article about Yang;  “As President, I will establish a Department of the ATTENTION Economy,” https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/18/perspectives/andrew-yang-technology/index.html

He wants to study what social media is doing to our kids. It’s like “Back to the Future,” will they become (expletive) or something? My kids didn’t have smart phones growing up, tech was in its infancy, email was a new thing. And the Grands don’t have a tablet or phone or anything YET; but they DO use tablets in school and see everyone else around them staring down into their hands. The Love Bug recently asked her Dad if they could have a “Device-Free” day because she’d heard about this from her teachers.

A young mind can become addicted faster than our old brains want to believe. And social media is simply another method for bullies to do what they do best – shame and humiliate. A 12 year old girl in Nashville just committed suicide after being bullied mercilessly. How many “followers” do you have? Did you see that picture of so-and-so on Insta?

Remember how inadequate you felt your Freshman year in high school?  Well, add a few years of comparing yourself to others on top of that. I walked straight outta Catholic school into a public high school, and was lucky to find a bunch of nerdy, pre-college kids to welcome me.

Running around the neighborhood on my bike was pretty care-free in comparison to today, even if a bully thought he could hurt me, I didn’t let him define me. I got even. My not-so-polite message is not to run away from a fight, not to make excuses for someone’s bad behavior. My Grands will eventually meet up with a real “bad person,” they will eventually have a smart phone in their hands or maybe a piece of Borg machinery hard-wired directly into their skulls.

Should we employ algorithms to cap a child’s screen time per day, or just boot them out the door to play? We are experiencing a “GLOBAL epidemic” of childhood inactivity, what do you think? https://www.bbc.com/news/health-50466061

IMG_6731

People never just “go” to the Emergency Room, they rush to the ER. And if you’re Mr T, you take your motorcade along, a helicopter would be too flashy. He wanted to avoid the “fake news” after all. The Bride caught wind of his “irregular” trip to Walter Reed on Saturday while she was working in her ER because it was blowing up in her private female MD social media group – I mean Twitter wasn’t even on the story yet. I wonder why Google hasn’t told us the reason for his visit.

According to most news outlets, the White House has a regular mini-clinic-hospital in one of its wings. So this unscheduled, outside of protocol trip to the ER is a mystery. Does anyone believe the press secretary’s line that Mr T was only fulfilling the first part of a routine medical exam? His BFF Roger Stone goes to prison and the impeachment witnesses are heating up reality TV, and rumor has it Ivanka actually observes the Saturday sabbath with her family, so he was all alone in the residence… and figured he’d get a check-up?

Naturally with two-too-many ER docs in the family, we try to avoid ER visits, unless it’s to deliver apple cider donuts. Last week, Great Grandpa Hudson was having a problem breathing, certainly a good reason to call an ambulance. Instead, two ER docs showed up to check him out and he was just fine. Thousands of Medicare dollars saved because a 93 year old man would certainly have been admitted for the complete work-up. His only problem – a salt-loaded free restaurant meal at a local restaurant for Veteran’s Day.

Maybe Mr T had one too many hamburgers? His cholesterol is rather high and his weight is an issue. Or maybe he thought he was having a heart attack, and it was only a panic attack!

I have a friend who went back to work years ago, and left their 3 month old baby with her husband who worked at home. He ended up in an ER with a panic attack that can mimic a full-blown MI – sweating, heart irregularities, a feeling like your world is coming to an end. I’ve had one or two panic attacks myself while I was trying to conceive a second baby and kept having miscarriages. I went into hard core OCD and didn’t want to drive over bridges.

Maybe the constant strain of being presidential, rising at 6 am and taking 3 hours of “executive time” to watch state-sanctioned FOX News, then starting your day at 11 am and ending with very busy Twitter fingers is taking its toll. I wonder if he has dinner with Melania, or if she eats early with Baron? Or is she even there? Then there’s all that golf on the weekends. It must be exhausting!

He left Walter Reed without a jacket, his shirt open, no tie. Sounds like it was a quick exit, the kind of patient who leaves an ER “against medical advice.” You know the type, and Mr T is certainly that type of arrogant, egoist.

He is back at Tweeting his agenda this morning – using middle school bullying tactics and name calling to intimidate his enemies. Nancy Pelosi is “Nervous Nancy.” The “Do Nothing Democrats” are at it again with “Fake News.” Mr Tweety T whines that he was only exercising his First Amendment rights when he live-Tweeted a threat to ex-Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch on Friday.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump wrote. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. it is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”  https://www.vox.com/2019/11/15/20966716/impeachment-hearings-trump-yovanovitch-witness-tampering

I was thinking somebody should have removed him from office, or at the very least removed his not-so-smart phone from his tiny fingers. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; an honorable woman who had been told to leave her post in the Ukraine quickly, “on the next plane,” was again being maligned in public, on TV, by our commander in comedy.

She talked about being “knee-capped,” like his administration is a cast from the Sopranos.

“According to the Department of Justice, intimidation of witnesses testifying before Congress is a crime under 18 U.S.C. § 1515(a)(1). However, in this case it is the president who is allegedly doing the witness intimidation and an OLC opinion (see Indicting a President Is Not Foreclosed: The Complex History – Lawfare) states that a sitting president cannot be indicted.”

It’s a shame really, or a sham that this president who sits around all day surrounded by sycophants cannot be indicted. Because he’s not just intimidating a witness, he’s projecting his insane policy of panic and chaos around the world.

In other weekend news, two ER docs and two writers went out for sushi with two adorable children. Can you find the redhead?

IMG_6723

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: